We were recently visiting with one of our Peak Performers about their hiring process. It reminded me that, indeed, little things can and do matter. The attorney had just conducted a group interview for a new staff person and told us “… any of the people who came would be a fabulous addition.” That triggered a strong internal response requiring I weigh in on how that attitude can backfire when making hiring decisions. Here are a few thoughts to keep in mind about the attitude we should bring to the hiring process.
Is there anything more important to the success of our firm than the caliber of people we hire? Too often we hire those like ourselves. It is easy to find the good in people. Many of us are thoughtful, kind people, always seeing the best in those in our lives. Yet, professionally, when we draw conclusions that a candidate would be a “fabulous” addition after one group interview that observation is a huge leap of faith, one I believe can lead to poor results. Yes, it is absolutely necessary to approach the selection of team members in a positive manner. Yet we should be very cautious about drawing conclusions after one interview. Other than initial impressions they may leave, at that early stage in the process you don’t know enough about any of the candidates to know how they will fit in or perform.
Your entry bar must be set high. And, frankly, if you find one or two who ultimately qualify you’ll be fortunate and may be on to a good hire. Be clear, that doesn’t mean this is a negative approach to the process. Rather, it means you approach candidate selection with a discerning, demanding, clinical, almost skeptical eye. Make them prove they deserve to be an employee of your firm.
Despite what may be an urgent need, to adapt an old adage, measure multiple times, cut once. By that I mean, there are more steps to successful hiring than a group interview, profiling, 1-1 interviews and a decision. That is not enough when the stakes are this high, and they always are this high in firms our size. Finally, post-hire, it doesn’t mean they are “terrific.” As they say in the National Football League, they might be a good draft choice from what was available at the time. Only time – and it usually doesn’t take long – will reveal if they are a player. And it will also reveal whether we approached the process by utilizing wisdom or hope.
About the author: Mr. Parman is a frequent guest on the radio and can be seen on television talk shows explaining the importance of proper estate planning. Prosperity Productions selected Mr. Parman is a featured speaker in a nationally-recognized educational video on Living Trusts. He is the author of numerous published articles on financial and estate planning matters and the co-author of two books, Estate Planning Basics: A Crash Course in Safeguarding Your Legacy and Guiding Those Left Behind in Oklahoma: Settling the Affairs of Your Loved Ones.
Mr. Parman is a Member and Fellow of the American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys. He is also a member of the Oklahoma and Missouri Bar Associations, the American Bar Association, and the Oklahoma City Estate Planning Council.
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